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Coaches Make Snap Decisions
Authored by Randolph Charlotin - 1st November, 2009 - 11:46 am

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Head coaches are hypocrites by profession. They desire continuity from the players day-to-day, but it is the coaches that make changes whenever they want.

While quarterback rumors are nothing new, multiple changes in one week catch the eye. Two switches are confirmed, while two other situations are bubbling. One change makes sense, but three potential controversies shouldn't be rushed:

Tennessee: Vince Young for Kerry Collins

Titans owner Bud Adams gets what he wants. Tennessee probably isn't going anywhere this year after a 0-6 start. It's time to take a longer view of the state of the franchise and plan for the future. Tennessee wants to find out if Vince Young is their quarterback of the future or if the future be without Young.

With the playoffs virtually out of reach, it is time to find out what they have in Young. He's in his fourth year, but has regressed since winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year award in 2006. Sometimes taking a step back to see the bigger picture is what a young passer needs to better understand what they need to do to improve. Hopefully, Young learned while watching quarterback Kerry Collins direct the Titans to a 13-3 record in 2008.

But it's up to the individual. We only know what we see on television, but on the sidelines Young barely looks like he's paying attention. If Vince has a pretentious attitude, as if he should be the starter, it would explain why head coach Jeff Fisher rarely played Young.

With 10 games to go, Young's future is in his hands. He will either earn the starting job next year or resume his position on the sideline, likely with another team.

San Francisco: Alex Smith for Shaun Hill

Give credit to head coach Mike Singletary. He doesn't fool around. If you're not doing the job, he won't waste time finding someone who can. That explains the hook given to Shaun Hill. A terrible game against Atlanta was followed by an unproductive half in Houston. So Singletary yanked Hill for Alex Smith, hoping it would spark the offense.

Smith, the first pick overall in 2005, took control of the offense and led a comeback that fell short by just three points. But his three touchdowns in the second half was enough for Singletary and he's going with Smith, hoping Alex matches the expectations created with the outstanding second half.

Does status have anything to do with this decision? Smith is the former first pick overall, while Hill was a free agent from Minnesota. Hill entered the league as a rookie free agent with the Vikings in 2005.

Based on past performances, Hill outplayed Smith. When Singletary became interim coach last year, he made the switch from Smith to Hill and the 49ers went 5-4 after a 2-5 start. Smith had seven games to play his way out of the starting lineup last year. But Hill only had a game and a half this season.

Any quarterback can come out of nowhere and play well in one game. But NFL seasons are 16 games long, or longer if the team reaches the playoffs. Singletary's switch might be to right the ship before the playoffs are out of reach. But Smith never got the job done before.

Smith deserves a second chance, but Hill deserves more time to break out of his funk and turn his game around first.

Carolina: Jake Delhomme vs. Matt Moore/A.J. Feeley

Four scores and 13 picks ago, most quarterbacks would be benched by now. Jake Delhomme earned leeway from head coach John Fox for leading the Panthers to a Super Bowl and a NFC South crown.

But at some point, Fox must give in, right? Well, yes, but give in to whom? ('Read Delhomme is Done' for a more in-depth analysis of Carolina's quarterback situation)

While some teams have an established back-up or a youngster to groom for the future, the Panthers have neither. Feeley is an adequate career back-up, but that's it. And if 'Lina had greater intentions for Moore, the third-year pro would have more snaps in his career.

The Panthers aren't out of the playoff hunt yet, but if they fall out of the race, Fox might let captain Delhomme go down with the ship until the Panthers can draft the quarterback of the future next year.

Buffalo: Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Trent Edwards

Perhaps no myth has been proven false more often than you can't lose your job because of an injury. Trent Edwards missed a game and a half after suffering a concussion against the New York Jets in Week 6. Since Ryan Fitzpatrick got under center, the Bills beat against the Jets and the Panthers the following week. Edwards is out again this week against Houston.

If Fitzpatrick can direct his third win in a row, fans might start believing in the former Harvard grad over the Stanford alum.

But like choosing a school, this quarterback decision shouldn't be rushed. Fitzpatrick completed less than 50 percent of his passes while averaging 119.5 yards per game.

Fitzpatrick benefited from careless opponents. Ten turnovers were converted into 30 of Buffalo's 36 points in the past two weeks. The offense when led by Fitzpatrick is responsible for just three points.

The Bills have run no-huddle offense this year, but it hasn't worked. Some of the blame falls on Edwards' shoulders, but maybe the system doesn't fit Edwards. According to reports, the coaching staff is considering slowing the offense down.

If the coaches do so, it could be the adjustment Edwards and the offense needs. Trent has been steady, though average. Players always talk about slowing the game down to express when they are in a comfort zone. If the huddle returns to the offense, Edwards could slide into a system moving at a pace he's more comfortable with.


Read more by Randolph Charlotin at his New England Patriots blog at . He can be reached at talktome@randolphc.com.